Utah and Massachusetts

July 26, 2004 | 15 comments
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I’ve noticed a few interesting statements linking the two states lately. The Boston Globe notes that:

In Massachusetts, 16 percent of poll respondents said that they belong to “no religion,” only slightly above the national average of 14 percent (and below Utah’s 17 per cent). (Link via Philocrites).

Meanwhile, Danithew notes John Kerry’s recent statement of how Mormonism is mainstream (and how that affects Massachusetts):

“I think that over the course of this convention, people are going to see a Massachusetts that’s very much like America,” he said. “It’s interesting: the last four governors of our state have all been Republicans. We now have a Mormon Republican who originally came from Utah. Our state is as mainstream as any.”

So the masses of marauding Mormons have made Massacusetts more mainstream? (How’s that, alliteration-haters?). Is this the beginning of a trend? (And did it start with sweet Sunstone symposiasts who schlep in from sunny Swampscott, snickering at silly syllogisms?). Will we see further Massachusetts-Utah links? And what does it all mean? I’m sure if it has any significance, we’ll figure it out here at T & S.

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15 Responses to Utah and Massachusetts

  1. Chris Grant on July 26, 2004 at 12:03 pm

    The Mormon Republican governor of Massachusetts originally came from Michigan, not Utah.

  2. John on July 26, 2004 at 12:10 pm

    Yesterday in the Boston II ward one of the speakers noted the stark difference in the number of visitors that we had for the Boston Marathon (at least 30 every year) versus the zero that were in town for the DNC. That got a lot of laughs, though I think different people laughed for different reasons.

    It turned out that one person was actually visiting for the convention, but he made it clear that he was here as a journalist and that he would “be covering the Republican convention next month, and then in November I’ll vote.”

  3. danithew on July 26, 2004 at 12:51 pm

    Kaimi,

    LOL… I was going to really load up on the alliteration in the title… but it just seemed like too much. I’m glad someone else noticed though. :)

  4. Geoff B on July 26, 2004 at 12:52 pm

    I’m curious about the higher percentage of people from Utah saying they have “no religion.” I’m guessing that if you are not LDS, and you want to point that out, you are more likely to say you have “no religion,” meaning “not of the dominant religion.” If you live in a less religious place, where one religion is not necessarily dominant, perhaps you are less likely to emphasize your lack of religion.

  5. ed on July 26, 2004 at 1:43 pm

    Geoff says: “I’m guessing that if you are not LDS, and you want to point that out, you are more likely to say you have “no religion,” meaning “not of the dominant religion.”

    Maybe so, but all the western states have lots of people who say “no religion.” In fact, by this metric, Utah is more religious than any of the states that border it. Washington state has 25% “no religion.”

  6. Renee on July 26, 2004 at 1:51 pm

    Speaking of going mainstream, video stores in here in Omaha, Nebraska now have “Mormon Cinema” movies right there with everything else in the New Releases section. This started last year. Maybe vistor counts at the Winter Quarters Trail Center will be on the rise now, too. ;)

  7. Chad Too on July 26, 2004 at 1:57 pm

    I was able to rent “The R.M.” from my local videostore too, Renee. I noticed last week that “The Book of Mormon Movie” was there too, but I passed on it based on the review given by my favorite movie critic, Eric D. Snider: “Behold, it doth suck mightily.”

  8. danithew on July 26, 2004 at 1:59 pm

    Speaking again about going mainstream, check out Orson’s Telescope blog… there’s a post that describes how the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has contributed recordings to not one but two video games.

  9. ed on July 26, 2004 at 2:00 pm

    the data can be found here

  10. Renee on July 26, 2004 at 2:02 pm

    We were sucked in by “The Home Teachers” and “The Work and the Story” this weekend at Hollywood Vido. I was hoping that the former would redeem Halestorm entertainment after the dreadful R.M. movie but no such luck. It wasn’t as bad though.

    I pity the non-lds public who rent these though.

    On the bright side, We’re sure to go more mainstream since the main character in Napoleon Dynamite wears a Ricks tshirt from the 80s. LOL

  11. john fowles on July 26, 2004 at 2:13 pm

    I made a similar comment over on the Wump Blog about this but I wanted to say it here too. I think it is very risky for Kerry to make such a comment. Doesn’t it actually reveal just how out of touch he is with mainstream America? If he thinks that Mormons are mainstream America, then he hasn’t been out talking much to mainstream Christians. If you want to find out how mainstream Mormons are in America, just ask your Christian neighbors (or better yet their preachers) about what they think of Mormons.

    We are still a cult from the perspective of the mainstream. This is not an exaggeration. I grew up in Dallas and can make this statement with absolute certainty of its correctness. Just because other Christians might be willing to accept us reluctantly into their social coalitions, they have not changed their basic premises about us. I suggest that there is still only one thing, one point of doctrine, that all of the numerous Christian denominations will agree upon: that Mormons are from the devil and that the BoM is a fraud and Joseph Smith a false prophet (even if many of them will grudgingly concede that he was a genuis to be able to pull it off). This is very politically incorrect to write, but calling a spade a spade has never been popular, it seems. Sure many non-LDS Christians reading this will protest that they don’t share the perspective that I am attributing to mainstream Christianity. To you I apologize and say that of course there are deviations in individual cases (i.e. certain individuals who are indeed tolerant and not combative against Latter-day Saints) but I maintain that you are the exception to the rule.

  12. danithew on July 26, 2004 at 2:28 pm

    John, I’m horrified to learn this. I thought the Utah Olympics had solved everything. Sigh. :)

    My experience is less with other Christians and more with agnostic/non-religious/atheistic folks who in general think organized religion is just kind of wack-o.

    I’m not thinking that Mormons are mainstream but there’s this sort of wholesome image that I think has been put out there and is largely accepted. So I don’t think all folks are seeing us as a cult. But I haven’t spent any time in Dallas, TX either.

  13. John on July 26, 2004 at 2:44 pm

    I don’t think that Kerry was suggesting that Mormonism is mainstream. Instead he was trying to say that Massachusetts is not lefty-land and using the Mormon governor as evidence that Massachusetts is a moderate place. Of course two years ago Kerry was helping campaign against Romney and was sad when he won, but right now it is convinient for him to point to Romney as a indication that MA is not the most liberal state in America and therefore Kerry is more mainstream than some would think.

    I think a monkey could poke a hole in the logic above. Not being a monkey, I won’t bother.

  14. sid on July 26, 2004 at 7:24 pm

    I will have to agree with John Fowles. I have met a lot of people who belong to the so called “regular” Protestand denominations who think of our Church as being some kind of illegitimate cult, and thet the Prophet Joseph Smith was a massive fraud. And if you speak to folks who belong to fundamentalist pentecostal-type or non-denominational fundamentalist Churches, their opinions of our Church get even more extreme!!! I am usre there are a lot fo thinking Christians, protestants and otherwise who think differently, but, the unfortunately, the majority of people still tend to think of our Church in negative terms.

  15. gunner on July 26, 2004 at 7:32 pm

    Geoff B. asked
    I’m curious about the higher percentage of people from Utah saying they have “no religion.”

    Religion is a relationship with G-d. Like a love of a women, when the love is lost you have no desire to be near her or even think of her. Since Utah is a religious center the culture has a habit of being the church. So when someone does leave the church, or find fault with it in their eyes, they are likely not going to be finding another very fast. Since they see the old one around so much. So they would say “no religion” more then something else.

    Just my .02$
    Gunner